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af-frighť, sudden and great fear.
burgh'er, a citizen.
cham-paign', open country.
fast by, near.
in play, in check.

round'ly, boldly, vigorously.
strait, narrow.
straight, immediately.
suf'fer, submit to.
tryst'ing, appointed.


By the Nine Gods he swore
That the great house of Tarquin

Should suffer wrong no more.
By the Nine Gods he swore it,

And named a trysting day,
And bade his messengers ride forth,
East and west and south and north,

To summon his array.

East and west and south and north

The messengers ride fast,
And tower and town and cottage

Have heard the trumpet's blast.
Shame on the false Etruscan

Who lingers in his home
When Porsena of Clusium

Is on the march for Rome!

But by the yellow Tiber

Was tumult and affright:
From all the spacious champaign

To Rome men took their flight.

"From the Lays of Ancient Rome.

A mile around the city,

The throng stopped up the ways; A fearful sight it was to see

Through two long nights and days.

Now from the rock Tarpeian,

Could the wan burghers spy The line of blazing villages

Red in the midnight sky.
The Fathers of the City,

They sat all night and day,
For every hour some horseman came

With tidings of dismay.

They held a council standing

Before the river-gate ;
Short time was there, ye well may guess,

For musing or debate.
Out spake the Consul roundly :

"The bridge must straight go down; For, since Janiculum is lost,

Naught else can save the town."

Just then a scout came flying,

All wild with haste and fear :
“To arms! to arms! Sir Consul;

Lars Porsena is here."
On the low hills to westward

The Consul fixed his eye,
And saw the swarthy storm of dust

Rise fast along the sky.

Fast by the royal standard,

O’erlooking all the war,
Lars Porsena of Clusium

Sat in his ivory car.
By the right wheel rode Mamilius,

Prince of the Latian name;
And by the left false Sextus,

That wrought the deed of shame.

But when the face of Sextus

Was seen among the foes,
A yell that rent the firmament

From all the town arose.
On the house-tops was no woman

But spat toward him and hissed ;
No child but screamed out curses,

And shook its little fist.

But the Consul's brow was sad,

And the Consul's speech was low, And darkly looked he at the wall,

And darkly at the foe. “ Their van will be upon us

Before the bridge goes down; And if they once may win the bridge,

What hope to save the town?”

Then out spake brave Horatius,

The captain of the gate : “To every man upon this earth

Death cometh soon or late.

And how can man die better

Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers

And the temples of his gods;

And for the tender mother

Who dandled him to rest, And for the wife who nurses

His baby at her breast, And for the holy maidens

Who feed the eternal flame, To save them from false Sextus

That wrought the deed of shame?

“ Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,

With all the speed ye may :
I, with two more to help me,

Will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand

May well be stopped by three. Now who will stand on either hand,

And keep the bridge with me?”

Then out spake Spurius Lartius;

A Ramnian proud was he : “Lo, I will stand at thy right hand,

And keep the bridge with thee.” And out spake strong Herminius;

Of Titian blood was he: “I will abide on thy left side,

And keep the bridge with thee."

“Horatius," quoth the Consul,

As thou sayest, so let it be."
And straight against that great array

Forth went the dauntless three.
For Romans in Rome's quarrel

Spared neither land nor gold,
Nor son nor wife, nor limb nor life,

In the brave days of old.



a-thwart, across, from side to side. harness, soldier's armor. con'stant, unshaken.

hind, a peasant, a rustic. crā'ven, cowardly.

right, very fell, cruel, inhuman.

sacked, plundered, pillaged. grace, mercy.

sur'ges, waves, billows.

MEANWHILE the Tuscan army,

Right glorious to behold,
Came flashing back the noonday light,
Rank behind rank, like surges bright

Of a broad sea of gold.
Four hundred trumpets sounded

A peal of warlike glee,
As that great host, with measured tread,
And spears advanced, and ensigns spread,
Rolled slowly toward the bridge's head,

Where stood the dauntless three.

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